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CME Conference focuses on third platform, PC decline

Experts gather to face up to supply-chain challenges

The Third Platform will drive IT growth in 2014, says Rangel.
The Third Platform will drive IT growth in 2014, says Rangel.

Channel Middle East magazine's Channel Conference got under way at the Oberoi Centre, Dubai this morning and the third platform and the decline of the PC market took a front seat in discussions among regional supply-chain experts.

In her keynote address, Adriana Rangel, research director, Systems & Infrastructure Solutions, IDC, covered a range of issues that the regional channel has faced in 2013 and also introduced projected challenges for the new year.

Both Rangel and Asem Galal, managing partner, Galal & Karawi Consulting in his 2014 Business Outlook presentation, noted that while social media was behind the potency of the Arab Spring, the Spring itself catapulted social to hitherto unknown levels, as account holders on social networks surged across the region following the leadership transitions.

This created an accompanying surge in demand for consumer electronics. But at the same time businesses are remodelling their internal infrastructures as they see the benefits of outsourcing infrastructure to cloud managed services companies.

When addressing retail challenges, Galal mentioned that most customers do not complain in-store, but complain to friends and family, and much of that discussion takes place through social media. This will lead to a thirst for analytics so that companies can understand their customers better.

So between them, enterprises and consumers are driving demand for social media, mobile computing, analytics and cloud, all of which are collectively known as the third, platform. Rangel believes the third platform is going to drive a great deal of channel activity in 2014.

Galal cited PayPal research that showed a significant worldwide bump in those products the Middle East IT channel sells, but only 10% of that revenue is coming to the region. He  believes that salespeople working in the Middle East IT channel are "trained to recite the specs of the product, but not to sell it". 

Both opening speakers balanced the discussion around challenges and opportunities. One thing, however, is clear: 2014 will be a key year for the channel, as players will be forced to embrace the changes that are now upon them, or struggle to find revenue.

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